The history of the United States of America cannot truthfully be told without Black history. However, the official narrative in school books and media has long lifted some voices while silencing others. Black History Month was introduced as an effort to set the record straight. During Black History Month we shine a spotlight on the experiences and accomplishments of Black Americans.
Historian Carter G. Woodson believed sharing the accomplishments and perspective of Black Americans could help reduce prejudice and break down barriers between people. Building on this idea, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH) hosted the first Black History Week in 1926. There was immediate enthusiasm and engagement in this week. Fifty years later, in 1976, President Ford announced the first month-long celebration as a time to share, listen and learn. Discover more about Black History Month.
Events & book discussions
Black Cake Read-Together | Feb 1-28, 2023
During February read and discuss Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson with the Top City Reads Together Facebook group. In February Black Cake will be available with no holds on Libby, and we will also have multiple print copies available. This book is a journey through the life of a family with Caribbean heritage. The story shows how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories and even names can shape relationships and history.
Read this great book and visit our Facebook group throughout the month to chat about the book, and share recipes and read-alikes. Email email@example.com for more information or to reserve a copy of the book. If you want to chat about the book in person attend our TALK Book Discussion at the library on Feb 15 or join us via Zoom. Register for a reminder or zoom link or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preschool Storytime | Thursdays in Feb | 10-10:30am
On Thursday mornings in February Preschool Storytime will highlight Black History Month. Enjoy stories, songs and activities that encourage a love of reading and help develop kindergarten readiness skills. This program is geared for 3-5 year olds.
The National African American Read-In encourages communities to read African American books and authors. In 1990 the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English established the Read-In to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. More than 6 million people around the world have participated in the Read-In. We are hosting a local event with the Topeka Chapter of the Links, Inc. on Sat, Feb 4 in Marvin Auditorium 1-3pm.
African Americans in Manhattan, Kansas |Mon, Feb 6 | 6-7pm
David Baker will tell his story through the lens of historic Manhattan, Kansas, and Yuma St where he grew up. Yuma St is registered as a historic district. Register for Zoom link. The Kansas Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (KAAHGS) is hosting this online event.
TALK Book Discussion: Black Cake | Wed, Feb 15 | 7-8:30pm
Let’s discuss Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson. In present-day California, Eleanor Bennett’s death leaves behind a puzzling inheritance for her two children, Byron and Benny. Eleanor leave them a black cake, made from a family recipe with a long history, and a voice recording. In her message Eleanor shares a tumultuous story about a headstrong young swimmer who escaped her island home under suspicion of murder. As the heartbreaking tale unfolds, Eleanor holds back secrets and opens a mystery of a long-lost child. This story challenges everything the siblings thought they knew about their lineage and themselves. Black Cake’s journey through the life of a family with Caribbean heritage shows how the inheritance of betrayals, secrets, memories and even names can shape relationships and history.
TALK book discussions immerse you in powerful stories & new perspectives. Discuss with open-minded group in person at the library or virtually (register for link). Sponsored by Humanities Kansas. Need a book? Email email@example.com.
YWCA Racial Justice Book Club | Tue, Feb 28 | 7-8:30pm
Join thoughtful discussions on topics of racial justice. Everyone is welcome. Our February title is We Were Eight Years in Power by Ta-Nehisi Coates. This book features Coates’ iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including Fear of a Black President, The Case for Reparations and The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.
We Were Eight Years in Power also includes eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations and intellectual development. Coates’ capped the book with a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.
Shades of Greatness | Feb 24 – May 7, 2023 | Alice C. Sabatini Gallery
Shades of Greatness is a stunning traveling art exhibit from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City that features works created by local artists inspired by Negro Leagues Baseball history. This exhibit honors and celebrates African American history and sports, and is funded by National Endowment for the Humanities.
Reading that celebrates Black History & experiences
Add work by Black authors to your TBR (to be read) list all year around to embrace new perspectives, learn the truth of our history and celebrate Black voices.